Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Plea Deal: Rell - If That's My Baby

There are many guilty pleasures in life. And I am tired of pleading ignorance and denying the things I love that might not be so highly ragarded by the cognoscenti. And so for the guilty pleasures I offer these Plea Deals. I will continue to enjoy them. And I will not be ashamed.

Now for my first installment, I offer If That's My Baby by Rell. At his height he was the go-to hook singer for the Roc-A-Fella record label appearing on records for each of the label's more prominent rapper stable. This track was his shot in the dark to capitalize on the minimal name recognition he did have. In the male R & B crop, the field is mediocre and there is no stand out. It is too easy to just fall to the way side because everybody pretty much sounds the same. A small scrawny black kid with a gritty church-honed tenor doesn't exactly wow the masses. He disappeared after this track but reappeared on a Young Gunz single. After that, I haven't heard much.

But I remember seeing the video to this song one time on a Saturday night video show on BET. I believe I was at my former institution in Connecticut probably recovering from a hang over or just experiencing general malaise on an autumn night. I heard the song and it was just so comically honest, I jumped on my ethernet connection and found that song. I remember I was one of like 7 users who had it, but I bumped that joint.

There is no amazing musical achievement exhibited in this song. The lyrics aren't exactly awe inspiring. But I aways feel that rhythm and blues was the best music for telling a story. Even though the current crop of artisans in ths particular field are wanting, still the tracks have the ability to evoke a soap opera right in front of your eyes. R. Kelly's "Trapped In A Closet" is an extreme example. But good ol' R & B can put some drama in you. It can just not only move you physically but entertain you as well. This is something it had to inherit from its ancestors like slave songs to gospel and blues.

Rell offers a simple taste. Simple story known across genres: cheating dog gets caught. But in this twist Rell is speaking to the mistress, the homewrecker who claims she carries his child. And with ease we are drawn into his thoughts and side of the hypothetical conversation as he explains his anguish and expectations. Like the lyrics, the music is straightforward and simple, held together by a solid bass line and a reoccurring electronic organ to evoke a churchy feel to the proceedings.

To add even more pleasure to the whole party, I am a sucker for the use of natural vernacular in song form. By the end, our boy has ad-libbed that the child's name and facial features better be reminiscent of him if indeed he is the father. It's not even four minutes, but every time the shuffle delivers it to me, I smile. Ignorant unnecessary drama at its best.

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